Reviewed this week
Many thought that Moonrise Hill Material co-founder Folamour's acclaimed second album, Umami, would only ever appear on vinyl. Happily, Classic has licensed it and here makes it available as a digital download for the very first time. The album boasts few surprises to those who know his catalogue and sees the hyped producer accompany dusty, sample-heavy deep house club jams with a smattering of soulful, MPC style beat workouts. There's naturally little in the way of flabby filler, just a wealth of good grooves heavily influenced by soul, jazz and disco. Highlights include the Theo Parrish/Andres style jazzy deep house of "Look At Me Or I'll Steal Your Eyes", the head-nodding hip-hop soul of "Kickflippin' That Stuff" and the full-throttle disco-house of "Ivoire".
This expansive eight track EP/MIni album from the consistent Running Back label arrives with no information about the identity of the previously unknown Younger Rebinds. What we can tell you, though, is that it's really rather good. As the title hints, it's something of a retro-futurist treat, with the mystery outfit laying down a range of club-ready jams inspired by the rich history of house music. Highlights include the hands-aloft piano house simplicity of "Hite", the proto-house-meets-acid-house hum of the decidedly druggy and psychedelic "Retro7", the bounding, heavily electronic deep house bounce of "Oorgel" and the pitched-down, saucer-eyed Balearic house bliss of "Moonday". Those who enjoying playing around with percussion should also check the sweaty drum workout that is "7Beat".
Alistair Gibbs takes time out from churning out dancefloor gold on his Friends & Relations imprint to make a welcome return to Heist Recordings. Predictably, he's in fine fettle throughout. Opener "Affirmation" is an almost overwhelmingly positive chunk of loose and baggy disco house that's similar in feel - if not sound - to Tom Trago classic "Use Me Again". "Agilo E Olio", on the other hand, is a much more driving and low-slung affair, with key wickedly rubbery bass, cowbell-heavy percussion and fuzzy Clavinet lines providing heaps of dancefloor energy. Laurence Guy gives that track a warm, woozy and dreamy deep house makeover, before Nebraska rounds things off via the jaunty dub-house-meets-Maurice Fulton brilliance of EP standout "Big Plate Chicken".
Before finally establishing himself as a neo-soul star in the mid-2000s (he'd been going for decades before that, of course), Joseph 'Amp' Fiddler recorded a couple of singles for fellow Detroiter Moodymann's Mahogani Music imprint as Amp Dog Knight. It's perhaps fitting, then, that his new album for the label is named in honour of that alias. Interestingly, while those EPs saw him turning his hand to deep, organic and soulful house, this album is packed with superior quality "proper" soul. Of course, you'll find a range of influences dotted throughout - fuzzy soul-rock, R&B, hip-hop, dub, jazz-funk and even a dash of Detroit deep house (see the Moodymann-ish "I'm Feeling You") - but by and large these are incorporated into Fiddler's trademark slinky and soulful audio soup.
Having previously impressed via a series of fine releases on Monologue Recordings, Leon Revol continues to hit all the right notes. There's plenty to get the juices flowing on this first Beats of No Nation outing, not least a couple of fantastic cuts ("If Terry Was in D" and "Soundtrack To Charlie") that pepper sturdy disco-house style grooves with all manner of jazzy samples and instrument solos. The EP also boasts a sumptuous chunk of drowsy and dreamy deep house ("9 to 9"), a head-nodding trip into blazed instrumental hip-hop territory (the horizontal brilliance of "Lou Bet Sou") and a remix of "If Terry Was in D" by Jad Lee (as Jad & The) that fantastically fuses sun-kissed deep house dreaminess with the rhythmic punch of two-step garage.
It would be fair to say that Niall Mannion's first EP for Pampa is amongst the Irish producer's most eccentric releases to date. While both "Your Heavy Head" and "Kitedub" are underpinned by bubbly, tech-house drums and electronics, neither is your average peak-time club cut. "Your Heavy Head" is smothered in eccentric noises and musical elements - think accordion riffs, wind chimes and snippets of Mannion's own weary vocals - while "Kitedub" is deep, drowsy and quietly picturesque with the Tough one's teary singing rising to the forefront at regular intervals. Speaking of vocal tearjerkers, Mannion does a good job manipulating his own contemplative lyrics on ambient closer "Ahsure".



Sol Selectas Records specializes in deep tribal dance music, incorporating folkloric sounds and ancient rhythms, bringing them into a future electronic realm of deep house. Label boss Sabo released his album entitled 'Vibe Quest' back in 2016 and it now makes a return in the form of this remix package: which is rather impressive and worthy of your attention. Highlights on here include German tech house hero Acid Pauli's Singing Sequencer remix of "Singing Game" which is a woozy mid-noughties style minimal groove that's suited perfectly for the after hours. Multi Culti boss man Thomas Von Party's esoteric acid remix of "Drop That" is perfect for the raindance! Elsewhere, Los Angeles power duo Nadastrom return with a brooding remix of the title track and the legendary Alexi Delano makes a surprising appearance: the Swedish NYC transplant provides a hypnotic techno rework of "Force 4 Movement" while another legend in the form of Miami's Oscar G (who teams up with Lazaro Casanova) with a jacking remix of "Afro Fuego"



Here's something to set the pulse racing: a surprise joint EP from experienced Finnish producers Jimi Tenor (still best-known for his eccentric lounge-jazz escapades on Warp) and Klas-Henrik Lindblad (AKA Sasse and, here, Freestyle Man). Tenor's drowsy and distinctive vocals - as well as his fuzzy old synthesizer melodies - come to the fore on the first two tracks, with dusty deep house opener "Power of Love" impressing slightly more than the tongue-in-cheek "Pyjama Party" (which, incidentally, reminded us of Tenor's late '90s material). Elsewhere, Lindblad's love of Metro Area style nu-disco is explored on "Turku Airport", while "Temple of Music" sees jazz-man Tenor layering solos over a slick and sumptuous deep house groove.
Avotre is a label based in Berlin, founded in 2012 by Philip Maier aka Sante. Following up great releases by Russ Yallop, wAFF and Citizen they've now got Tring's finest Huxley onboard with the brilliant "Clunk" where he displays his penchant for slinky tech house grooves. Then we get treated to a bunch of absolutely wicked remixes. Milanese duo Proudly People deliver a truly stomping remix that has that rolling peak time feel (for fans of Gruuv or Saved) while Hungarian Reelow takes you back to the mid noughties minimal techno vibe with his druggy after hours style remix. The Elrow affiliated Toni Varga steps in to deliver an absolutely electric early Detroit inspired rendition. Following up some great releases of late on DFTD, Moda Black and of course Aus Music, Huxley's No Idea's Original imprint has certainly impressed us of late also.



As the title suggests, this four-track escapade from Romare features a quartet of straight-to-tape versions of tracks from his live show. According to Ninja Tune, the tracks were recorded using instruments from his live set up, a handful of samples (primarily from previous "studio" versions of the included tracks) and "occasional bass guitar from his brother". As you'd expect, it's a largely fluid and stripped-back affair, with opener "All Night (Live Session 1)" - a kind of warm, boogie-driven deep house shuffler - and the skewed, late night deep house shuffle of "Come Close To Me (Live Session 2)" standing out. He employs some jazzy guitars and extremely fluid keys solos on "Come Close To Me (Live Session 1)" and "Je T'aime", giving both an attractive, hybrid organic/electronic vibe.
Highly respected Frenchman Alexandre Gouyette makes his debut on Berlin institution Cabinet Records with two perfectly contrasting grooves: "Soothing" naturally lives up to its name with soft focus dubby synth ripples and a classic drum arrangement while "Visions" rolls and punches like a Kenny Dope beats track. Broken, spacious, dubbed-out and physical, Brawther's reputation for rough finesse is so strong you can properly feel it.
Danny "Moodymanc" Ward is known for Balaphonic and Vault amongst others and of course as a part of 2020 soundsystem with good pal Ralph Lawson until they called it quits a few years ago. He revisits his Dubble D alias up next on his Well Cut label delivering three equally epic cuts in the process. Starting off with the lush deep house late night jam "Well Oh", next up "Black 'N Gold" goes for a more soulful and jazzy and slightly disco vibe that had us reminiscing of early Boo Williams and Glenn Underground. Adding some real variety to the release is final track "Grande Piazza" which shows ward has an equally deft hand at creating some smooth nu-disco flavoured grooves and this one features some gorgeously shimmering synth work.
Gerd's Frame of Mind label aims to reissue classic older tracks as well as fresh new house sounds. Here are seven exquisite deep house cuts for you by producer Toyin Agbetu. A forgotten hero of the UK underground responsible for some of the most exquisite music out there. Between 1990 - 1992 this veteran producer made everything from street soul and hip-hop to moody Chicago and Detroit inspired house and soulful garage cuts. All crafted with passion, love and devotion. With this EP Frame Of Mind introduces you to some of his finest works recorded under the Shades Of Black alias, where Gerd has selected several out of print releases from the Intrique label. A must have for fans of classic house such as Larry Heard. Since quitting the music business, Agbetu is these days a writer, educator, artist-activist and Pan African community worker.
Moth is John Beltran's follow-up album to his 90s long player Ten Days of Blue, and proves to be a worthy successor. There's the jittery rhythms of "Wet With Rain" and the Detroit techno "Flight", while on "The Returning Dance" and "Nineteen Eighty Nine", the US producer looks to Larry Heard for inspiration as he drops emotive deep house tracks that centre on bleeding basslines and vivid melodies. Beltran's trademark ambient sounds are also present, with "Whatever The Road Brings" delivering chiming melodies over subtle rhythms, while the ethereal "Street Lights" and "My Robot" represents Beltran at his esoteric best.
For its first outing, freshly minted deep house label Virage has decided to put together a sampler style EP featuring cuts from members of their extended crew. Pierre Moritz kicks things off with the rubbery bottom end bounce, dreamy chord sequences, loon bird samples and cerise-hued synthesizers of "Fewnolder", before Alva doffs a cap to the likes of Nathaniel X, Ron Trent and Chez Damier on the chunky U.S deep house warmth of "Jean-Paul Groove". Elsewhere, Paris Groove reaches for the squeezable acid bass and rolling drums on peak-time bumper "Portails", while Madcat plays around with spacey synths, jacking beats and heady old school vocal samples on solid closer "Yes I Do".
Over the last few years, Paper Recordings' Ben Davis has been a little too busy directing acclaimed music documentaries to tend to the needs of his production alter ego, Flash Atkins. Here, the caped crusader finally returns to action following a two-year absence. Our hero begins with "Dark Night of the Soul", a quirky, clap-heavy affair that wraps vintage electrofunk synths and meandering acid lines around an eccentric but percussive groove that doffs a subtle wink or two to the early work of Norwegian legend Bjorn Torske. The Scandolearic disco influence is also evident on the piano-heavy, hazy house warmth of "Undertow", which comes accompanied with a bouncy and wonderfully eccentric dub that could easily have been produced by somebody like Todd Terje.
Unknown To The Unknown sub label Hot Haus have been doing great things of late with fine releases by Steve Murphy, Red Light and Marlon Hoffstadt. Next up is Jacy Bozzi, an Italian DJ, composer and arranger. He is the founder of Home Of House Records. Deeply devoted to the old school sound of classic Italian house between 1989 and 1994, he was picked up to feature on both of Young Marco's Welcome To Paradise compilations and released the Somewhere In The Tapes EP on the Kalahari Oyster Cult label. DJ Haus had access to a world of lost DATS and dug out four super deep Italian house masterpieces. Real composition, no lazy sampling, just pure MIDI house music from Italy.
The latest expansive EP from the Sapiens camp promises "Beasts". Whether that refers to the artists involved or the showcased tracks, we're not quite sure, though we can confirm that the five-tracker is not short of dancefloor heat. Teho kicks things off with the rolling electronic riffs, big builds and swirling nu-disco/deep house fusion of "Into The Wild', before Villanova and Time turn La Chica's "Oasis" into a bustling chunk of melodious progressive house revivalism. Elsewhere, Stefan Smith steals the show via the undulating new age melodies, blissful electronics and hushed grooves of "Embers", while YEUZ serves up a bumping chunk of evocative deep house/tech-house fusion.
Bristol-based Kemback (AKA jazz-loving house producer Geoff Wright) impressed earlier this year with a tasty contribution to Don't Be Afraid's DBA Dubs series. A year earlier, he'd released his debut EP on Omena, the fabulous Good Night. Here, that set appears on digital download for the first time. The title track sees Wright brilliantly wrapping sampled jazz instrumentation (double bass, grand piano, hissing cymbals) and dawdling, Floating Points style synthesizer solos around a hypnotic, Innervisions style groove, while "For You Today" is a liltng deep house shuffler full of Sweeping strings, dusty samples and rich Rhodes chords. There are also two fine remixes of "Good Night": a woozy deep house revision by Local Talk co-founder Tooli and a sumptuous, electronic-Afro-jazz-in-deep-space take from the reliable Auntie Flo.



More sumptuous house moves from the Bind Jack's Journey crew on this third round of The Return Trip series which features contributions from a cast of lesser known production talents. There's something immediately gratifying about the emotive weight to opener "Dul Doen" from Yrd, the manner in which the synth lines seem to sear out of the channels grabs you willingly. From here Thom Brooke discards with drums in favour of toying playfully with vast clouds of synthesized texture which still emit a rhythmic pulse making "Penway" a good way to bridge a set. If you buy house music on wax you will probably recognise Ian Blevins from his work as part of Al Gobi; present here in a solo capacity, "AA" finds Blevins laying down a dreamy, loose little jacking number which contrasts nicely with the stripped back icy melodic electro of "Lacanau" by Causa.
Exclusives
DJ AAKMAEL - Take It Back (Scissor & Thread)
ACID PAULI - BLD Remixes A (Ouie)
MANGABEY - How I Feel EP (Apparel Music) - exclusive 29-11-2017
Exclusives
LEON REVOL - Lou Bet Sou EP (Beats Of No Nation)
BUTCH/C VOGT - Bliss (Rebirth)
THE ANALOGUE COPS - Flimsy Output EP (Hypercolour)
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